This week on Saturday Spotlight I’m spending time at another of privilegedpup’s favourite places! My guest is from the other side of the Northern Pennines but I’m sure we can share the Lady Janey sofa without squabbling too much. Please welcome General Manger of The Old Courthouse, Dale Allison.
Originally from North Yorkshire, Dale moved down to the Midlands at a very young age. He’s a avid Middlesbrough supporter but says he ‘Doesn’t have the accent’ and that you’ll find him ‘Talking all things football whenever possible.’ When he’s not working, Dale enjoys skiing, Geocaching and has a ‘Massive passion for French wines, especially quality wines from Beaujolais and Loire Valley’. What a relief! We can at least talk wine!
Dale started by filling me in with the background of Brunning and Price, which was born out of the friendship of Jerry Brunning and Graham Price in 1989. Since then it’s grown from a small collection of pubs in the north west of England to a family of pubs spanning the country.
Dale went on to explain that their ‘Approach to doing business hasn’t changed since the beginning, preferring to run a collection of individual pubs, rather than a ‘brand’ or a ‘chain’. We don’t want to take over the world, just pride ourselves on running the best pubs we possibly can for the community we are in, and if a new location pops up that needs a B&P pub we embrace the opportunity.’
When I asked Dale about the best part of his job, he said that ‘A great team of people from the support crew in Head Office to the staff here at the Old Courthouse makes the job really enjoyable. As well as seeing any ideas / suggestions we have come to fruition which is unheard of when you work for a large company. Having this empowerment over drinks and menus means we all feel a lot of job satisfaction.’ There certainly is a lovely team ethos at The Old Courthouse and every time we visit, everyone is always happy to chat and share ideas.
As for the worst part which isn’t really a worst part, Dale says that they ‘Need a bigger bar to store more than the 160 gins and 80 whiskies we currently stock!’ And that’s aside from all the wine they stock, which I am slowly and valiantly making my way through.
With regards to delivering excellent Customer Service, Dale says that they ‘Strive to offer amazing customer service to all our customers as we fully appreciate that good word of mouth feedback is the best type of praise you can receive. Our mantra is too ensure that all our customers leave 100% satisfied and their expectations exceeded, as we want them to return again and again.’ Absolutely, couldn’t agree more.
Dale is proud that The Old Courthouse is rated 4.5 out of 5 according to Facebook, Google and Trip Advisor reviews and says they ‘Want all our customers to feel as if they are guests in our homes. We want them to feel relaxed, comfortable, well fed and obviously well-watered’ or ‘wined’ in my case maybe?
When I asked Dale why people should choose The Old Courthouse he said it ‘Has arguably the best refurbished / restaurant conversion in the area. You will also find bookcases crammed for your perusal with comfy high back chairs to squirrel away in peace if you are so inclined. You will also on occasion find live music played in the main bar and plenty of ‘pre theatre goers’ enjoying a bite to eat before they head across the road to the Everyman Theatre.’ Indeed I’ve done this myself on a number of occasions and it’s hands down my favourite place to eat before the theatre albeit minus privilegedpup.
Dale went on to say that ‘Talented chefs create delicious seasonally inspired menus in the theme of modern British cookery, there will always be hearty classic pub favourites including traditional Sunday roasts as well as something a little different to excite, or a little lighter for those seeking a little respite on a lunchtime from the great shopping that Cheltenham has to offer.’ Sounds perfect to me!
As to how The Old Courthouse encourages customer loyalty, Dales says it’s ‘By being consistent. The service, food and atmosphere have to be on point every minute we are open.’ The Old Courthouse also offers a Meal Ticket with every main meal purchased and once you get 6 tickets you can exchange them for meal up to the value of £12.00.
In 5 years time, Dale sees himself ‘Still with B&P and progressed into Operations looking after my own patch of pubs…..or owning my own vineyard in France.’ Now we’re talking Dale! Suddenly all possible Lancashire/Yorkshire rivalries are forgotten and I can see Dale and I being friends for life.
The Old Courthouse is located in the heart of Cheltenham close to The Everyman Theatre and you can find all contact details on their website. The pub is also on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and if you haven’t been already then it’s definitely worth a visit. Formerly Jamie’s Italian, it has been beautifully restored to above and beyond its former glory with the retention of its original remarkable features and a stunning display of artwork documenting its history and commemorating Cheltenham’s racing links. But despite its grandness, The Old Courthouse is very much home from home. There’s a warm welcome for the whole family- including our favourite four legged friends and it definitely gets the paw of approval from privilegedpup!
Thanks to Dale for chatting to me today! There’s lots coming up at The Old Courthouse and you can find out more by clicking here to see the newsletter update or by visiting The Old Courthouse’s website. The Old Courthouse is also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Until next week everyone!
Lady Janey x